Framing Ferguson: If Black Lives Don’t Matter, No One’s Life Matters

michael brown

Black lives matter. If Black lives don’t matter, no one’s life matters.I spoke on this subject yesterday in my contemporary theology and ethics class at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, where I teach. I reflected on this theme against the backdrop of yesterday’s class session featuring Dr. Martin Luther King and his prophetic reflections on the Vietnam War and the impending decision by the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case.Dr. King spoke of the “triple evils of racism, economic exploit … [Read more...]

“Before (____) was, I AM.”

_Before (    ) was,I AM blog

Not many of us are fixated with Abraham or allegiance to Israel. Jesus’ audience in John 8 was. In John 8, Jesus challenges those who had believed in his message to move beyond accepting his word as true to accepting him as the Truth (John 8:31-38). They placed him in the company of Abraham, but they did not see him as greater than Abraham (John 8:31-59). Jesus told them that Abraham longed to see his day and was glad that it had finally arrived (John 8:56). As the father of faith and the nation … [Read more...]

Cloning & Racism

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Are opponents to cloning racist? This question came to my mind while watching the science-fiction film The Creation of the Humanoids. The movie is set against a background of a post-nuclear war disaster, which destroyed over ninety percent of humanity; moreover, the human race is no longer able to procreate at a replaceable level because of radiation; so, the population continues to decrease in numbers. As a result, scientists create highly advanced, blue-skinned and silver-eyed humanoids of … [Read more...]

“American Beauty” & the Garden of Eden

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The 1999 film American Beauty captured the imaginations of multitudes of Americans. The movie engages American middle class notions of what is deemed beautiful and personally satisfying. The film speaks to me on many levels, including the theme that things are not always as they appear. People live behind white picket fences and rose bushes in beautiful homes; they give the appearance that all is well and everything is in order, when such is not the case. The film also reminds me of how often we … [Read more...]

Kierkegaard: Prune Juice for the Soul

Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard is good for cleaning out the system. He's like prune juice for the soul. Kierkegaard cleans out the system of dead orthodoxies and bland generalities. The scandal of God’s particular Word Jesus confronts each and all of us and calls for a response of faith. Will we dare to draw near?We cannot hide behind clerical collars and pimp Jesus for profit; bourgeois Christendom must bow the knee to Christ (See my piece, “Can’t Pimp Jesus”). Nor can we hide behind logical syllogisms that ar … [Read more...]

Don’t Spit on God

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Nobody is scum or refuse. Every human has inherent dignity and worth as someone created in God’s likeness. When we spit on somebody, we spit on God, for humanity is the spitting image of God.What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Many answers have been given throughout history. Some have spoken of the image in rational terms. Humanity is par excellence the thinking or wise creature (Homo sapiens). On this view, we best image God through reason.  After all, what other creature does Go … [Read more...]

Fears of Science and the Church: Are They All in the Head?

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Many religious people are suspicious of significant issues in science. Many people—religious and non-religious alike—reflect suspicions and indifference toward the church (especially among younger people); one of the reasons for many young people leaving the church is the perception that churches appear hostile to science, as a Barna study claims. Could it be that many if not all fears and suspicions of science as well as the church are in the head?Regarding the suspicion of key consi … [Read more...]


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